Shortly after 7 p.m. Eastern Time on August 25, the U.S. State Department issued a dire warning to Americans in Afghanistan: don’t go near the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport. For the Biden administration, the Kabul catastrophe just gets worse. The exact wording of the State Department Security Alert is:
“Event: Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so.”
The message goes on to say U.S. citizens “who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.” And go where? The only direction to go is back through the Taliban line, which took hours or days to get through. The diplomatic corps at Foggy Bottom also provides useful “Actions to take” like “Beware of your surroundings at all times, especially in large crowds.” For those on the ground at the gates to the airport, there are only “large crowds.”
The threats to those at the Kabul airfield are no doubt real. The security condition is dangerous, according to a recent Politico report:
“The security situation on the ground in Kabul significantly worsened on Tuesday [August 24]. New terrorist threats from the Islamic State branch in Afghanistan, known as ISIS-K. The group is targeting airport gates and military and commercial aircraft evacuating people from the capital …”
Shouldn’t the Biden administration have anticipated this? Why is this happening? President Biden himself vowed securing the Kabul airport was the primary mission. “The United States will focus on securing the Kabul airport, and additional U.S. forces will flow into the airport on Monday and Tuesday, U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said, as people tried to flee a day after Taliban insurgents seized the Afghan capital,” Reuters reported on Aug. 16.
As early as July 12, 2021, Liberty Nation explained how the Kabul airport was crucial to the withdrawal of U.S. forces, U.S. citizens, and Afghans who supported the American efforts throughout Afghanistan.
LN readers may remember the reference to President Biden’s July 8 address to the American people. He was naively emphatic when he said:
“I intend to maintain our diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, and we are coordinating closely with our international partners in order to continue to secure the international airport. And we’re going to engage in a determined diplomacy to pursue peace and a peace agreement that will end this senseless violence.”
On reflection, the airport is apparently not secure, and whatever “determined diplomacy” Biden had in mind is not working. It remains to be seen what alternatives the U.S. citizens caught somewhere in Kabul have, and those at the gates clinging to the hope of freedom appear to be in serious trouble. Nevertheless, there is some cause for hope. Reports on August 25 revealed that U.S. forces have engaged in missions outside the perimeter of the Kabul airport. Greg Norman and Lucas Y. Tomlinson, writing for Fox News, detailed, “The U.S. military launched another helicopter rescue mission outside the Kabul airport last night to rescue ‘less than’ 20 Americans, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby revealed Wednesday.”
During the same Defense Department briefing U.S. Army Major General William Taylor told reporters, “Last night, during the period of darkness, there was an operation to be able to go out and safely evacuate evacuees back into Kabul. They are at Hamid Karzai International Airport, and they are preparing to be evacuated.”
It is perplexing that though approximately 10,000 evacuees remain at the airport standing by to leave, we now learn “more than 400 American troops have already departed Kabul ahead of the Biden administration’s August 31 deadline for all U.S. forces to leave Afghanistan.” That means while the threat situation is growing and the State Department is warning people not to come to the airport because of security concerns, the very people sent there to provide security are leaving. Are there any adults left in Biden’s administration?
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
Read more from Dave Patterson.